February 23, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has not been kind to small businesses across the Philly region, as health and safety restrictions have forced establishments to limit in-person services for the past year.
The Mexican businesses that make up the Italian Market neighborhood of South Philly are just a few that have felt the economic hardships of the public health crisis.
A number of these popular merchants have come together to form the South Philly Mexican Business COVID Relief Fund to help stay open and avoid bankruptcy.
The GoFundMe campaign, which is being operated by the Association of Mexican Business Owners of Philadelphia and The Merchant Fund, is seeking to raise at least $50,000 from the local community to support 12 merchants located along and around the South 9th Street commercial corridor. The two organizations have raised more than $30,000 as of Tuesday.
All funds raised will be distributed equally among the 12 participating businesses to support operations, staff and families. The Merchant Fund also will provide a matching gift of $2,500 to support the financial assistance efforts.
Below is a list of the 12 merchants that will benefit from the GoFundMe campaign.
• Alma del Mar
• Chocolate Arts & Crafts
• El Güero
• Los Cuatro Soles
• Los Taquitos de Puebla III
• Mole Poblano
• Philly Tacos
• Philatinos Radio
• Plaza Garibaldi
• Taquería Morales
This group of South Philly Mexican merchants have remained open for delivery and takeout options during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as some in-person services with proper social distancing measures.
However, these businesses have not received any financial assistance from the federal, state or local levels during the pandemic, fundraiser organizers said. Restrictions over which businesses are qualified to apply and receive PPP loans, as well as state and local grants, put many minority-owned businesses at a disadvantage to receive financial help, according to the Inquirer.
The Association of Mexican Business Owners of Philadelphia was formed to support businesses that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The self-organized group has conducted food distribution and other relief efforts for South Philly's Mexican and Central American residents since the public health crisis began last March.
The group "promotes local economic development, creates employment opportunities that support the community, and most of all, builds bridges of cultural understanding through our products," according to the fundraiser organizers.
The Merchants Fund is a Philly-based nonprofit foundation that helps provide donations to businesses facing financial hardship. The organization, which was established in 1854, has distributed nearly $7.5 million in total grants to businesses since 2007, according to its website.